They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service—John 16: 2.
The persecutions of today are more refined than in any previous period. The faithful today are not stoned with literal stones or shot with literal arrows or literally beheaded, but it is still true that the wicked shoot out arrows at the righteous, "even bitter words"; and many because of faithfulness are reproved and slandered and cut off from fellowship—"beheaded for the testimony of Jesus." Let all such emulate Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Let their testimonies be given with radiant faces like his. Let their eyes of faith perceive Jesus at the right hand of the Majesty on high as their Advocate and Deliverer. Let their words be with moderation as were Stephen's, and let it be true of them, as written of him, "full of grace and power" and "filled with the Holy Spirit".
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All the faithful have incurred the displeasure and consequent disfellowship of the nominal people of God. Misunderstood with respect to their work, teaching, character and hopes by those out of harmony with God's Plan, God's faithful people have been regarded by them as the enemies of God, His Plan and His Church, and consequently the latter have often thought they served God by killing those who really were His children.
Parallel passages: John 9: 22, 34; 12: 42; 16: 3; Acts 8: 1; 9: 1; John 15: 18-21; Rom. 10: 2; 1Cor. 2: 8; 1Tim. 1: 13; Psa. 11: 2; 38: 20; 44: 22; 56: 5; 94: 5; Prov. 29: 10; Matt. 5: 10-12, 44; 10: 16-18, 21-23, 28; 23: 34; 24: 8-10; Mark 13: 9-13; Luke 6: 22, 23; 21: 12-19; Acts 5: 29, 40-42; Rom. 8: 17, 35-37; 1Cor. 4: 9-13.
Questions: Have I been persecuted this week? How? Why? With what results?
BEAR the burden of the present,
Let the morrow bear its own;
If the morning sky be pleasant,
Why the passing night bemoan?
If the darkened heavens lower,
Wrap thy cloak around thy form;
Though the tempest rise in power,
God is mightier than the storm.
Steadfast faith and hope unshaken
Animate the trusting breast;
Step by step the journey's taken
Nearer to the land of rest.
All unseen, the Master walketh
By the toiling servant's side;
Comfortable words He talketh,
While His hands uphold and guide.
Grief, nor pain, nor any sorrow
Rends thy heart to Him unknown;
He today and He tomorrow
Grace sufficient gives His own.
Then bear thy burden with good cheer,
Take promptly up thy daily cross;
Nor hesitate to shed a tear,
Nor reckon o'er thy present loss.
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